Pages 234-235, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




RICHARD R. CLAIBORNE, proprietor of the Iola Cider, Sorghum and Corn Mill and Vinegar Works, is a representative of one of the old and famous families of the United States, being lineally descended from William Claiborne, who was sent out by Charles I., King of England, as Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and who at one time ruled both Virginia and Maryland. This William Claiborne is styled by Chief Justice John Marshall, in his life of Washington, as "the evil genius of Maryland," he having besieged Annapolis and driven Lord Proprietor Calvert out of the Province. His career in America was long and turbulent but he triumphed to the last, being sustained against all his enemies by Charles I., Cromwell and Charles II., under all of whom he held high office in the new world. He fell in battle with the Indians and his tomb may yet be seen at Wancock Hill, Virginia.

The descendants of William Claiborne became numerous in Virginia as they remained there for many generations without emigrating, filling many of the highest offices in the Commonwealth and intermarrying with its most distinguished families.

Richard Claiborne, our subject's paternal grandfather, was a Revolutionary soldier. He entered the Virginia line as a lieutenant, was aide-de-camp to General Greene during the whole of his southern campaign, and left the service at the close of the war, a major. He took up the practice of law in Virginia, and when his cousin, Wm. C. C. Claiborne, was appointed by President Jefferson Governor of the Territory of Lousiana, then just made a part of the United States by purchase, he accompanied him to New Orleans as his private secretary. After the admission of the State of Lousiana he was appointed clerk of the District Court of the United States and continued to hold this position until the time of his death which occurred in 1819.

Richard Claiborne married Catherine Ross, a daughter of Brigadier General James Ross, of the Revolutionary army, and a grand-daughter of


George Ross, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Their children were Guilford Green Claiborne, our subject's father, and Henrietta Virginia Claiborne, who married Preston Billings Elder, of Pennsylvania.

Richard R. Claiborne, the subject of this sketch was born at Columbia, Pennsylvania, September 7, 1838, and is the son of Guilford Greene Claiborne who was for many years a prominent official of the Pennsylvania railroad. When but eighteen years of age Richard R. Claiborne entered upon the active duties of life as Statistical Clerk in the Philadelphia custom house, an appointment made by direction of President Buchanan. He continued in office during a part of the administration of President Lincoln and resigned to take the superintendency of the Linscott Petroleum and Coal Company at Athens, Ohio. This position he resigned to assume the management of the James River Granite Company, at Richmond, Va., resigning this latter position to engage in the coal business in Philadelphia. In 1870 he came to Kansas for the purpose of engaging in the cattle business. He located first in Neosho county, near the town of Osage Mission (now St. Paul) establishing an extensive ranch on Walnut creek. In 1882 he came to Allen county, purchased the J. W. Scott homestead in Carlyle township, and made his home there until 1890 when he came to Iola, purchasing the Cider and Vinegar industry then carried on by the firm of Potter & McClure, in the building now used by the Iola Creamery. He soon removed the machinery to block 115, where he erected new buildings, put in a larger plant and greatly extended the business. Under careful and intelligent management the industry grew rapidly and had already become one of much importance when, in 1898, the buildings and plant were totally destroyed by fire. Not daunted by this disaster Mr. Claiborne secured a tract of land just east of the city, erected there a new and larger plant, and is rapidly regaining the ground lost by this unhappy misfortune.

Mr. Claiborne was married in February, 1872, at Bridge Water, Massachusetts, to Elnora Bartlett, a daughter of Joseph and Mary E. Bartlett. The two children of this union are Clarence Elder Claiborne, born in 1873, and George Ross Claiborne, born in 1876 and married in 1899 to Edith Emerson of Iola.

During the nearly twenty years Mr. Claiborne has lived in Allen county he has so conducted himself as to win the respect and the cordial esteem of all who have had either business or social relations with him. Of polished manners and excellent education, with a fine sense of personal honor, he has maintained the reputation of the distinguished name he bears and has made a record that well entitles him to a place among the representative men of Allen county.

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